My friend from Derry could scarcely contain his amusement when he remarked that now I know what it is like to have paras on my street corner.
He was referring to the deployment of the army onto the streets of east London ready for the Olympics.
I live in east London, just a couple of miles away from the Olympic stadium and even closer to the blocks of flats fitted with surface-to-air missiles in case of a terrorist attack.
Many local people wonder what the guidance is for using these weapons in this heavily built-up area.
The hysteria over Olympic security has been a wonder to behold.
Some 13,000 military personnel were due to be deployed around the area to maintain security. Now, with the meltdown of the private contractors G4S operations, another 3,500 soldiers have been called in, many coming straight from front-line action in Afghanistan.
No doubt they are pumped up and ready for action on the streets of east London.
G4S, though, will still be doing its bit, with several thousand rapidly recruited staff being given security duties in and around the games venues.
There will no doubt be a distinct variance in standards of security between a hurriedly recruited G4S operative and a fully trained police officer or soldier.
Security has become the watchword for this Olympics. Not far from one of the blocks with the surface-to-air missiles, a "temporary" police station has been erected with a number of cells to deal with potential extra arrests at the Olympics.
There are concerns that once this building establishes a dangerous precedent at Wanstead Flats.
The police have been given special powers, including dispersal orders to control people they don't like the look of.
This in the main relates to youngsters and it will no doubt result in some living under an effective curfew throughout the games.
The courts will sit around the clock, in an operation likened to that put into action after the riots last August.
This type of securitisation of the area causes many locals to pinch themselves and wonder, is this not a peaceful festival of sport, when nations come together to celebrate in solidarity?
At times, this particular Olympics has begun to more resemble a dry-run for World War III in the East End.
I can understand my Derry mate's remark. Some 20 years ago when visiting the north of Ireland I remember being repeatedly told that the great securitisation of society going on there at the time would one day extend to London and beyond.
In those days, there were the observation towers around the walls of Derry, in Belfast and elsewhere.
I remember the Rosemount Tower with its notice from the RUC explaining that it was only there to protect the community from terrorists.
No-one in the nationalist community believed it, especially those told by soldiers on the street what they had been doing in their own homes the previous day.
At the time, we debated how people in an area of London would react if a surveillance tower was put up, with the proviso that it was there to cut drug-related crime.
And so it came to pass - for surveillance tower now read CCTV. Not only did the great British public accept this surveillance but many actively campaigned to have CCTV cameras on their streets - please, please watch me.
Other things came over from the north of Ireland like plastic bullets, crowd control methods, the loss of the right to silence and other human rights - all sacrificed on the altar of "security."
The Olympics seems to have brought the whole thing full circle with troops deployed on the streets of London.
But no worries. Remember they are only here to keep us safe and maintain the peace.
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